(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) The Queen Mary 2 - the world's largest ocean liner and the luxury flagship of the Cunard Line - made its maiden call to Abu Dhabi today at the Mina (Port) Zayed cruise terminal today, signalling the UAE capital's increasing international status as a cruise liner destination.
On its first visit to Abu Dhabi, one of the key destinations on the Queen Mary 2's 2013 "World Voyage", the Cunard Fleet Commodore, Christopher Rynd, was welcomed to Abu Dhabi by the UK Ambassador to the UAE, Dominic Jermey CVO OBE, Capt. Mohamed Al Shamisi, Executive Vice President, Ports, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) and Nasser S. Al Reyami, Director of Tourism Standards, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
Arriving at 6:30am local time, Commodore Rynd and Capt. Shamisi later exchanged plaques to commemorate this historic visit, while disembarking passengers were treated to a distinctly Emirati welcome reception, with cultural displays, bus tours of the city and performances of traditional Emirati dancing arranged on the quayside, organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
The Queen Mary 2, the world's most expensive luxury cruise liner, will spend 12 hours at Mina Zayed's cruise terminal before departing for its next port of call in Cochin, India.
Commenting on the ship's arrival, Capt. Mohamed Al Shamisi said: "We are delighted to welcome the Queen Mary 2, its crew and passengers to Abu Dhabi, as part of her 2013 World Voyage. This historic event clearly underlines the UAE capital's growing status as an international tourist and cruise destination, and we will be working hard to continue to develop and transform Mina Zayed further, to facilitate and accommodate the growth of Abu Dhabi's cruise liner business." With the recent shift of all container shipping, into Abu Dhabi, to the newly inaugurated Khalifa Port, Abu Dhabi Ports Company has indicated that Mina Zayed will be developing its cruise terminal facilities and capacity at Mina (Port) Zayed, which is situated close to the centre of the UAE's capital city.
Forecasts suggest that over 100 vessels and 250,000 cruise passengers will pass through the UAE capital, in Abu Dhabi's 2014/15 cruise season, and the development of Mina Zayed's facilities into a world-class cruise terminal is expected to attract further growth of this tourism segment, in line with and in support of the government's Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision.